Movie Review: X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

We all owe Joel Schumacher a bit of an apology.
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, Anna Paquin, Kelsey Grammer, Rebecca Romijn, James Marsden, Shawn Ashmore, Aaron Stanford, Vinnie Jones, Ben Foster, Ellen Page, Patrick Stewart

Directed by: Brett Ratner
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Rome, Day Twenty-Six

One more sleep before we leave. Well, a half-sleep really, as we have a very early flight. We are so ready to be home. 4 weeks is too long a vacation, especially when it’s a busy vacation, where you have to buy 3 meals a day and stuff.

Yesterday, we went to Vatican City… only to learn that the Sistine Chapel was closed. Who closes on a random Thursday? Ah well, we went to St. Peter’s Basilica instead, then walked around and looked at stuff. We did a really silly tourist thing called the History Elevator, which had panaromic screens and moving seats that brought you on a tour of historical Rome. We thought it would be stupid fun, but it was just stupid. After that, the Pantheon, then we headed back to our hotel to freshen up.

For dinner, we had Ethiopian, which oddly made us homesick. It was the closest approximation to food that we eat at home that we’ve had in awhile. The pasta and pizza here aren’t that similar to the stuff we eat at home. The guy at the restaurant was pretty surprised we were there, and even more surprised that we enjoyed the food and knew how to eat it. I don’t think the white people frequent his joint.

Our plan for today was to wake up early and go to the Sistine Chapel… but we both slept like shit, so we slept in. When we got there, the line-up was all along the wall of the city, almost to the entrance of the square. I’d say it looked a good 2 hours long in the hot sun. Given that I’ve already explained my stance on waiting in long lines to see art, I think you can guess that we skipped it.

We really don’t feel like doing anything else right now. There are other museums, but we’re just too effing tired man. So we hopped on a metro to this internet cafe and looked to find movie times for an English showing of X-Men 3. We just want to sit somewhere cool and relax. Too bad our hotel room sucks so bad, maybe we’d just stay in and read. We’ll go eat again soon then see the movie, our third of the trip. Which is a lot, but it’s really hard to fill 11 hours a day of stuff every day for weeks on end.

Overall, our trip has been great. It’s just too long, which we knew it would be. But, getting here is so hard and expensive that we didn’t want to do it for just a week. 3 one-week trips would be more ideal, but would also be at least twice as expensive. We’ll probably go see the Spanish Steps after this, then call it a vacation in terms of sight seeing.

Tomorrow, the long haul home. When we get there, I don’t think we’ll emerge from our apartment for a solid 48 hours.


Rome, Day Twenty-Four

All vacations lead to Rome, our final destination before home. We left Florence this afternoon for Rome, a short 1.5 hour train ride. We took a Eurostar, which are much faster, and rode first class. I’d hate to think of what second class would be like, cause it was the most uncomfortable train ride yet (well, that I sat for… smelly, snoring guy made the other one more uncomfortable I suppose, but, then again, it’s not like we were sharing a bed). The seats were fancy enough, with electronic adjustability. But then they added headrests, supposedly for comfort. Unfortunately, these things jut out from the seat, and felt like concrete. So your head is pushed forward for the whole ride.

Other than that, and getting lost a couple times, today has been good. Our hotel is two minutes away from the train station, so that was nice. The train station is part of a big mall, so we did some shopping. I’ve decided that I’m not that interested in reading On the Road right now, or the other book I bought in Verona, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Maybe if I’d read Kerouac earlier in the trip I’d be interested, but right now, the last thing I’m interested in is reading about a neverending trip. I already feel like I’ve been on one, and am ready for it to stop. So I bought new books that will take us through to home. I’ll read more of On the Road at another time in my life, I think.

After freshening up at our hotel, we headed out to see Rome. A little late to actually go into anything, but we like checking out the town without an agenda when we first get there. The first stop was the Colosseum for gazing, pictures, and dinner. We walked around there a bit til we got to San Giovanni Laterno, then took the Metro to go see Trevi Fountain. I got turned around a few times getting there, making us walk more than necessary, but the weather was nice so it wasn’t too bad.

Everything looked nice, but I’m getting a bit tired of all the crowds. Florence was the worst for that yesterday. We headed out to see the David at the Academie, only to see a line around the block. We skipped it to go to the Uffizi, only to see a lineup that had to be 2 hours long just to get in. Maybe it’s just me, but no museum is worth waiting 2 hours to see. If I wait that long to see Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, then I want the experience to roughly resemble what it would feel like to receive oral sex from a choir of angels. Needless to say, we skipped it. Instead, we saw a science museum with 18th and 19th century instruments, and Santa Croce Cathedral, home to the tombs of Michelangelo, Dante, Machiavelli, and Galileo. We eventually did wait twenty minutes or so to see the David. By the time we got in, I was so hungry that I didn’t care to see anything else but the David– which is impressive.

Everything closes around 6:30 pm, so there’s not much else to do with your night other than eat (unless you’re of the party persuasion). We found a theatre showing an English version of The Da Vinci Code and watched that to help kill the night. Review to follow, but I will say that it was neat to see a bunch of Paris stuff that we had visited last week.

Two more days of braving the crowds, which should be insane at Vatican City tomorrow. Oh well, the Saints pretty much have to go there.

GO OILERS! (Have they lost since I started signing out that way?)

Florence, Day Twenty-Three

We found a new hotel last night. It’s probably the smallest room we’ve had yet, with no air conditioning, and our private bathroom is down the hall instead of an en suite… but, the toilet actually disposes of human waste. So it’s a fucking palace compared to the last place (even if the toilet had worked in the last one, it was still a dump. You could shower on the toilet, and, in fact, probably had to as there was only two inches between the two).

This morning wasn’t that much fun dealing with all that and lugging around our backpacks from the old hotel to the train station holding place to the new hotel in the sweltering heat. But, other than that, Florence has been good. We walked through a market for a bit, then went to the Duomo. There, we climbed to the top of a tower for a view of the city. We do that everywhere. The view is always good, but it’s also always a fuckload of stairs. I was happy to get to our new place and collapse into bed, then shower.

After a siesta, we went for dinner, where we sat close to a couple from Kansas City. They chatted us up and were good people. It was nice to exercise my English language skills again. The dude was shocked when I told him that we only have 3 downs in Canadian football.

I’ve now read 4 books on this trip. We had to buy more to get us through.

Tomorrow, the David!


Florence, Day Twenty-Two

We arrived in Florence this evening, and something happened that was so terrible, travel-wise, that I don’t even want to talk about it. Nothing damaging, everyone is fine. It just involves accommodations and toilets not flushing and… forget about it. I will try not judge an entire city based on one potty.

Still love Verona, even though we didn’t do a whole hell of a lot there. We did all the silly Romeo and Juliet stuff, which was fun. We had a pretty fabolous dinner as well, full of a bunch of seafood that we would never have ordered if we knew that we’d be getting it, but enjoyed it anyway.

Today, we woke up, did some laundry, had some good pizza for lunch, then got on the train to get here… and this thing happened. And ruined my day. Kim is currently looking for another place for us to stay for the next two nights. We should probably eat dinner as well, as long as we can hang on to it until after we get a new room.

In other news, Kim’s dad thoughtfully called for us yesterday to wish us a happy anniversary. Sadly, we did not get the call and instead just got a message that he called. Which made me think all morning that something horrible had happened and someone was dead. I kinda wanted to vomit a bit. We finally got a hold of him, and it was nothing.

I kinda want to go home soon.


Verona, Day Twenty

Sorry that I seem to be complaining a lot about a trip many of you wish you were on. I’m usually only on the net when I’m tired. If I have energy, we’re out doing stuff. Still, yesterday wasn’t that great a day.

I just don’t think I like Venice much. The beauty of it has been ruined by its 70% tourism industry. Too crowded to enjoy, and they try and rip you off at every corner. The highlight of my Venice place was either a pizza joint we went to, or the fact that I finished three card solitaire on my iPod for the first time in my life on the train ride out of Venice. The train ride itself was an adventure– they never alert you to what station is coming up, so we got off at the wrong one, then got back on. Then we got off at Verona, but the wrong Verona station. Sadly, we weren’t exactly dropped off at the station, so we didn’t figure out that it was the wrong station until our train left. This station was in the middle of fucking nowhere, with no conceivable way into town. So we waited 20 minutes for another train to take us 7 minutes up the road.

Our Bed and Breakfast is nice though… for a Bed and Breakfast. I don’t really like the idea of staying in somebody else’s house, but it’s nice otherwise. All was made well again when we headed out into the Veronese night. What a beautiful city! No wonder ol’ Willie Shakes chose it as the setting for his big romance (that is, if he ever came here, or saw pictures of here).

I love it though. There’s not a lot to do here in terms of stimulation. Sadly, the best thing in the city is the old Roman Arena, where they put on lavishly decorated operas… from June to September. We thought they were showing symphonies in the Arena in May, but, no, they are in a simple theatre. So we’re skipping on that.

But, it’s been great to just stroll through an old Italian city, with the charms of a smaller centre, and the conveniences of a tourist centre (for instance, they understand English, and this hour of internet time only cost a Euro). We’re thinking we should move here in our old age.

Tomorrow, we’ll probably go in the Arena, and check out the fictional Romeo and Juliet stuff.


PS- Today is our second anniversary. We’re even more romantic than Shakespeare!

Venice, Day Nineteen

First off… QWERTY rules! This place has completely Americanised keyboards, and it is so nice. I love home row! So we’re now in Venice, having left France last night. Our three days in Normandy were pretty great, visiting D-Day beaches and museums and stuff. We’ve been reading a lot about WWII lately, so it was pretty cool.

We’re staying in Verona for the next couple days, but decided to stay on the train all the way to Venice, since we can’t check in until late. The city is very pretty… but our day is kinda sucking (which is why I’m taking refuge in an internet place). Too crowded with tourists. Everything is way overpriced (4.50 Euros for half an hour of internet time!). I’m really happy we’re not staying here.

There’ll be a transit strike here tomorrow, so maybe it’s extra busy today. We have to line up for everything in the heat, then pay too much to people that aren’t that interested in helping us. I think fair Verona will be better, which is why I suggested we go there.

In other news, it seems like every city we go to is celebrating some kind of soccer championships. How the fuck does that work. If you don’t win a championship one week, there’s another one to compete for the next week. Barcelona has won two championships since we started our vacation. I wonder how many more they’ll get before we leave?


Paris, Day Fifteen

We’re pretty much just waiting to leave Paris now. We have a train to catch in under two hours, so we thought we’d kill some time at the nearby computer place. Sadly, the place is full of adolescent geeks, who are all overly-enthusiastic about their fucking gaming. Shouldn’t these losers be out somewhere getting wedgies and shit?

Anyway, we had a busy two days before this one. After Disney, we did the HELL out of Paris. On another bright, sunny day we headed up to Montmatre, a Bohemian district and home to the Sacre Coeur, and the highest point in Paris. That’s a whole lot o’ stairs, y’all. After that, we headed down to the Siene to take a riverboat to Notre Dame. Big church.

They were having an important mass there, so we didn’t climb all its stairs. Just as well. We hopped back on the riverboat, then on to the Arc de Triomphe. Big monument.

We had dinner on the Champs Elysées, which was awesome. We enjoyed it so much, we went back last night. After dinner, we saw the Eiffel Tower at night, all lit up. For 10 minutes every hour, they make it sparkle! Vive la France!

Yesterday, we did a bike tour of Versailles, because we rule. Sadly, Kim did not have her sun dress with a basket of flowers and a little dog. But, I believe she had fun anyway. I did as well, but now my ass is really sore.

We were going to do more today, but were too wiped out by the previous two days, and another travel hassle. So, we hung around and saw a movie– Inside Man. We weren’t too psyched for it, but it was the only English movie that fit out schedule. I dug it.

After 6 days, I’m ready to leave this city. I want to be somewhere smaller for a bit. This is a long-ass trip, y’all.

Disneyland Paris, Day Twelve

That’s right bitches, EuroDisney. We are so cultured. This is our third Disney park that we’ve been to in our almost two years of marriage. You can say that we are connoisseurs.

We didn’t come all the way to France just to see another Disney park, but did think that it would be a nice change of pace after all the galleries and churches we’ve been to (and will still go to). It was a great day. The park is much smaller, with less rides. But, the weather was really nice (sunny with blue skies) and their Space Mountain was the best ever. They have a new Buzz Lightyear ride with toy light guns that you shoot at targets for points. We had to do it twice. I’ve always thought that It’s a Small World would be much more exciting if they gave you guns.

Tomorrow is laundry day. Then, we’ll try and recreate a scene from Before Sunset on a river boat on the Seine.


Paris, Day Eleven

I am so exhausted. The weather was a bit better today, with no rain. Some fog and a little cold, but manageable.

Yesterday sucked because we traveled all night via train, and didn't get to sleep in the same compartment (they were separated by sex). An old dude in my compartment smelled like sausage and snored like a bear. Not ideal for sleeping. I tried to drown him out with Sigor Ros on my iPod, with mixed results. The iPod can't drown out stink.

When we got into Paris around 9, it was raining. We tried to book our next all-night trip, but learned that it wouldn't fit our schedule. Also, we hadn't eaten much, or showered. And couldn't check in til 2.

Eventually, things improved. We ate. We booked a different train. We walked by the Moulin Rouge.

Today, we went up the Eiffel Tower, then toured the Louvre. Probably didn't eat enough, but had fun nonetheless. But, that is why I am exhausted.


Paris, Day 10

Gotta make this one short, as French keyboards are so hard to use. The past couple of days have kind of sucked, due to weather and travel. But we're here in France, and hopefully, it will stop raining so we can have some fun.

Had a steak tonight. Yay!

Barcelona- Night Eight

Today was great. It started out with another sub-standard meal, but then picked up. We went to the highest peak in Barcelona, where there´s an amusement park there with rides and stuff. We didn´t go in there, but we did overlook all of the city– which was cool.

After a siesta, we went to the Park Guell, designed by Gaudi. Kim loved it, she was in Mosaic heaven. I love Gaudi´s Modernista designs. They remind me of Dr. Seuss. After that, we went to the Ideal restaurant (literally, that´s what it was called). It was ideal. I had spaghetti with meat sauce, which was exactly what I´d been craving. The waitress even spoke English. It was our Shangri-La.

Since I´ve done some complaining, I should talk about stuff about Spain that I love. I love that we can go all around the cities easily on the Metro, for a Euro a ride (less with our 10 passes). We´ve really taken advantage of that.

I love that people walk their dogs everywhere here. We´re in urban centres, and there are dogs everywhere. It breaks the myth that you need a house to have a dog. Dogs are fine in apartments, as long as you walk them frequently. If only more apartments in Calgary allowed dogs. I want a dog so much now.

We head for Paris tomorrow night. I think we´ll spend tomorrow at the beach.

Go Oilers.

Barcelona, Day Eight

Yesterday was awesome. The best day of the trip so far, hands down. Is this because I ate a Whopper, a hot dog, and hawaiian pizza (not in one sitting)? You decide.

Barcelona is a fabulous city. We love it here, and aren´t leaving. Not really. Yesterday, we walked around a park for a couple hours, which was great. Not a lot of green spaces where we´ve been going, so the change is nice. Then, we walked to the Sagrada Family Cathedral, which will be under construction for the next 50 years or so. But is awesome. Do a google pictures search and see what I mean.

Later, we headed to the Magic Fountains for a water and light show. Kim eats that stuff up. Lots of bouncing around the city on the Metro. Metros in Europe are great. They go everywhere and are fast. Yesterday, there was some kinda problem on one of the lines, so we were packing in a station. Kim wasn´t sure if we´d make it out alive.

Irritant of the day: for some reason, Kim´s Capital One card was declined at our hostel today. Using phones here is really hard, so we´re not sure what the problem is yet. I bet it´s some fucking fraud protection thing, which is stupid because she called before we left to prevent that sort of thing. The account still has credit, so we don´t know what´s going on.

Kim doesn´t think I´m being nice to her, but she´s totally wrong.

Off to see more of the city. Go Oilers!